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Why We Love It
The Rolex Submariner is a classic, and there’s good reason why almost every collector winds up with a vintage Rolex sports model in their stash - these are timeless, tough, do-anything, go-anywhere tool watches.
Rolex has been producing Submariners uninterrupted since the watch was introduced in 1953, and while those first generation Big Crown subs are truly incredible pieces, most of us will have to wait for our lottery numbers to hit to get one of those strapped to our wrist.
This particular Reference 5513 dates to circa 1969 and features a matte black dial with Tritium luminescent elements. The dial and hands remain almost perfectly intact with beautiful patination, giving it that look that vintage Sub buyers are after.
This Sub also features a professionally restored case and just the right amount of patination throughout, balancing original aging with some contemporary touch ups. Ultimately, it makes for the great opportunity to own wear a fifty year old Sub without having to knock over an armored car.
I mean, what more could you ask for?
Rolex first debuted the Submariner at the 1954 Basel Spring Fair. It shared the stage with already-established offerings: the Explorer, the Turn-O-Graph, and a ladies' Perpetual with a chronometer certification. Compared to these other watches, the Submariner - with its oversized case (then, 40mm was considered large) - looked slightly out-of-place, and yet would become one of Rolex's most enduring models.
Rolex's quest to produce a waterproof wristwatch case has its roots in the First World War, when a need arose for soldiers to have a watch that could withstand the wet, dusty conditions of the battlefield. Rolex's Oyster case of 1926 represented the culmination of a decade of development. It gained notoriety in 1927, when Mercedes Gleitze became the first British woman to swim across the English Channel. The watch she wore was - you guessed it - a Rolex. A series of advertisements followed this feat, featuring smiling flappers dunking their Rolex Oysters in fishtanks.
The Submariner emerged at a time when oceanographer and explorer Jacques Cousteau exposed the world to the wonders of undersea exploration. With the advent of SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) in the late 1950s, skin-diving as a sport became much more accessible to amateurs. Since a watch is crucial for divers to calculate how much air is left in their tank, they needed a specialized, yet easy-to-read watch. Rolex was fortunate in that René Jeanneret, one of the company's directors, was a skin-diving enthusiast, giving Rolex a unique insight into the development of their diving watch. Since a Rolex had already scaled the world's tallest mountain (the Explorer, worn by Sir Edmund Hillary on Mount Everest), where else should a Rolex go but to the very bottom of the ocean?
The early Submariners foreshadow the classic model of today and yet lack certain features that make a Submariner a Submariner. There were no crown guards on these early references, only five-minute markers on the rotating bezel, and these early Submariners were only rated to a depth of 300 feet. Nevertheless, the Submariner became almost an overnight success, being seen on the wrist of no less a personage than 007 himself, James Bond.
Rolex continued to develop and improve the model, until by the time the Reference 5513 was introduced, the Submariner had attained the distinctive features that define the model.
The Reference 5513 ran from 1962 until 1989, putting it amongst the longest-running models Rolex ever produced. In the eyes of many collectors, it is the ultimate Rolex, the one that is an absolute must to own.
Available EXCLUSIVELY at Watches of Switzerland SoHo!
Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Rolex Reference 5513. Circa 1969.
Overall Condition: Case is in excellent, expertly refinished condition with thick lugs. Bezel insert is a later replacement unit with Super Luminova pip. Matte dial is in great condition with rich, even patination of the luminescent elements. Rolex signed Trip-Lock crown.
Includes one 20mm Rolex Heavy Duty Oyster bracelet (93150/501B) with 9 links.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options